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Lawmakers react to leaked CIA hacking program

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - The federal government announced Wednesday it will be launching a federal criminal investigation into the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks' publishing of Central Intelligence Agency documents, which allege secret hacking operations by the CIA. Government officials want to know how WikiLeaks got a hold of the operation, which it is calling “Vault 7.”

While the CIA is not allowed to spy on Americans inside the United States, the documents tell a different story, one that even includes hacking into the software of cars and potentially harming drivers.

Now, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are speaking out.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., said what WikiLeaks did should not be condoned but, since the information is out there, should be taken seriously.

"What’s happened is that technology has outrun our privacy rights ... We’re in this no-man’s land, we don’t really know. We need to start clarifying that and provide the public some protection," Boozman said in an interview Wednesday.

Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., said the decision between security and privacy should not be an "either-or."

“It’s not about protecting the American people or protecting civil liberties. You have to do both and I’m concerned about anything that would be a threat to people's personal privacy rights and to their civil liberties," Kilmer said.

But some former top officials disagree, calling the leaks harmful to national security.

“These leaks are incredibly damaging to the ability of our intelligence people to do the job that they’re supposed to do, which is to gather intelligence in order to protect our country," said former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta, who also warned leaks could threaten future relations with important allies.

"They’re going to be very cautious about sharing the kind of sensitive information we may need in order to be able to protect our security," Panetta told CNN.

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